Corporate power, runaway capitalism, and unethical globalization, are destroying the lives of many people, particularly in Africa, Asia, South America, and other developing countries. So-called Fair Trade, with its unwilling attendants of Debt and dire Poverty, are among the symptoms of this modern Power. A plethora of world bodies have been duped into believing that they hold the reins of this rampant monster. Among them are the G-8, the expanded G.8 the Security Council of the United Nations, and the United Nation Body itself with all its subsidiaries. But in our modern World, Money is power. The World Bank is the most powerful monetary power of the present day. The International Monetary Fund is a member of the World Bank group whose purpose it is to control the World’s finances, at the same time responding to requests for financial help. In spite of having 178 member countries, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are in effect controlled by the US Treasury which is answerable to the US President George W. Bush.
So the World Bank, whose President is Paul Wolfowitz, has the power to run other peoples’ lives. It is this power which needs to be unmasked and challenged and to be made accountable to the International Community for its misuse and abuse. We must campaign against the US control of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations, and insist that there be set up binding global laws of justice and fair trade for all. Fair trade, not this so called Free Trade, is what African countries, and the poor of the world need. Justice must be put at the top of the Agenda, but Justice for the poor cannot be achieved without confronting the rich and the powerful, by demanding equality, and insisting that they, as responsible world citizens, must uphold all International treaties and Laws.
The G.8 leaders have failed to seize the moment offered by millions of people when they demanded ‘make poverty history’. These leaders either refused to make, or reneged, on promises of serious debt cancellation and reduction, aid, fairer trading, and environmental action. Instead they have seized the moment to argue that Multinational corporations are not the cause of Africa’s problems, but the solution. They have already allowed these plunderers to cream off the wealth of the nations, they were purporting to help, as has happened most recently in Argentina, Iraq, and other countries.
Of course Africa, and many developing countries need investment, but many of the multi-nationals have not enriched Africa’s people, but have a history of forced labour, collusion with dictators, abuse of rights of all kinds. Having campaigned for the late Ken Saro-Wiwa and the rights of the Ogoni people, we cannot forget what Shell has been doing in Nigeria A state-sponsored rebranding of these TNC,s with no mandatory constraints on them, will increase rather than ‘make poverty history’.
One of the most important ways to support our brothers and sisters in Africa and developing countries is to stop the arms trade, from USA and European countries. On a visit to Burundi some years ago, peace activists appealed that no arms be sent to their country, or military intervention, as they wanted through nonviolence means, dialogue and negotiations, to solve their own problems, without outside intervention. This for me is the great hope not only for Africa, but for the human family. People know how to solve their problems and create practices and political institutions best suited to their own cultures and traditions. Democracy must be built from the bottom up by the people, and with citizens’ involvement, elected National government allowed to shape their own destinies by formulating their own policies, not imposed from the outside by powers who wish to dominate and control them.
September llth, 2001, horrific bombings in America, brought home to us all in the privileged countries of wealth and sufficiency, how very vulnerable we are as human beings. This tragedy also brought forth different responses. Many people realized the need to increase and multiply our actions to build peace and to solve our problems through nonviolent means, and insure all our security and safety through international co-operation and upholding human rights and international laws.
However, the USA and UK, out of fear, or worse, used the politics of revenge and the old ways of militarism, war, invasion and occupation of Iraq. They thrashed human rights and international laws, in their illusion that their ‘war on terrorism’ would make the world a safer place. The use of white phosphorus chemical weapons on civilians during the Fullujah Raids, torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis as a result of economic trade sanctions, war, and the invasion and occupation of their country: these are war crimes against human beings, mostly Iraqi civilians. Such actions bring forth counter violence, and has for the foreseeable future, made the world a more dangerous place for us all.
The occupation of Iraq should end, and an enquiry into those responsible in the UK and USA Admin., who illegally took the world to war. But war must be abolished as it is immoral and illegal. The weapons we now have, and the money spent to produce them, is criminal, in the face of poverty, and environmental crisis.
There are alternatives to war, we can use the nonviolent civilian defense alternatives and use the nonviolent politics available to us. But even when this war ends we must deal with the deeper problem of our own thinking. People cannot use Napalm and chemical weapons, torture, and kill, other humans beings, unless their mind has been trained to forget their humanity, and trained to dehumanize and demonize others. Military training, no matter which countries undertake it, teaches how to kill, how to put on the mind of cruelty and violence.
The anti-nuclear whistleblower, Mordechai Vanunu, at present under arrest in a virtual prison of Israel, which he is forbidden to leave, said recently “We should be pioneers in this new world of peace. A world without wars. It can succeed only if we also have States without armies. My name for it is ‘towards a world without armies.’”
This, I believe, is where we start the journey of nonviolence and it is a cultural transformation of cultivating no killing mindsets, and nonkilling societies. We join with our African brothers and sisters in building a world of equality, justice, and nonviolence for the human family.